The state and the Centre will soon kick off a joint project to revive and restore historical forts across Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop infrastructure at around 90 forts to make them more tourist-friendly.
The joint managing director of MTDC, Satish Soni, said that of the 350-odd forts in the state, 90 are protected by the central ASI.
According to the MoU signed earlier this year, the ASI has allowed the MTDC to construct, create and execute tourist-friendly facilities in and around the forts. A director would be appointed by the state government, who, along with a consultant or architect, will prepare a conservation masterplan.
The Raigad fort, Sindhudurg fort, Shivneri fort, Rajgad fort and Pratapgad fort are among those likely to be taken up first.
Principal Secretary for Tourism and Culture Valsa Nair said cultural shows will also be held at these forts to depict their history. Officials said discussions are on to organise tourism events such as “Fort Festivals” or “Diwali at Forts” at these locations. “The objective is to make these forts culturally active for at least five days a year,” Nair said.
Last year at the Raigad fort, a five-day festival had been organised to celebrate the feats of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Later this year, a festival will be held at the Shivneri fort, for which the MTDC will be allowed to put up temporary infrastructure such as a stage, and sound and light arrangements.
According to the MoU, facilities to be built for tourists include toilets, drinking water provisions, shelters, cafeterias, signages, pathways, landscaping, development of parking spots and tents.
The MTDC is to also provide other necessary infrastructure for the visitors, such as a museum or information centre.
Following the Uttar Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh government, the MTDC has become the third tourism board in the country to sign the MoU with the ASI for the creation of tourist facilities and amenities in and around centrally protected sites. A seven-member core committee will be constituted to monitor the restoration.